UK is largest exporter of legal ivory 

A report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has revealed the extent to which the UK contributes to the international ivory trade.

Not only is the UK the world’s largest exporter of ‘legal’ ivory – the UK is the world’s largest supplier of ivory to China and Hong Kong. Our markets fuel consumer demand for ivory that sees up to 20,000 African elephants killed by poachers every year.

EIA wildlife campaigners analysed the trade database maintained by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which records certificates issued for legal ivory exports.

From 2010-2015, the data show that:

  • 370% more ivory items were exported globally from the UK than the next highest exporter: the US.

  • The UK was the largest ivory exporter every year except 2015, when it was second only to Italy.

  • UK ivory exports to Hong Kong and China dramatically increased, whilst exports to the US plummeted due to the introduction of Government restrictions on international and domestic ivory trade.

“This huge legal trade from the UK – and the illegal trade it masks – is wholly unacceptable for a country which has previously shown strong leadership on elephant conservation.” – Mary Rice, Environmental Investigation Agency.

With China and Hong Kong embarking on the process of closing their commercial ivory markets. It is critical that the UK stops its commercial exports to those same markets so we do not undermine their efforts.

The EPI and its partners, including EIA, continue to work tirelessly to hold the UK government to account to deliver on its 2010 and 2015 manifesto promise, and to implement a near total ban on ivory sales.

Click here for more details on the analysis by EIA